Thursday, June 28, 2012


My eyes are healing up nicely. One is good enough to have the bandage contact taken out as of this morning. The other still has a "defect." That actually isn't as bad as it sounded when the doctor said it. I told Aaron to speak English for me and he said he basically gave my eyes road rash and this one hasn't healed over all the way yet. So I go back Tuesday in hopes that it will be healed up and that other contact can go in the trash.

Meanwhile I am seeing 20/25 which for me is like amazing without glasses. Very happy to be seeing well.

Meanwhile I have been resting my eyes often (napping) and trying not to be on the computer too much. It is hard on my eyes to focus on screens too much yet. I have been documenting my life with Instagram this week. I find it is a fun tool to let Jonathan see what he is missing at home. I like to bring a little of our joy here to him at work that way.

I also have been planning a baby shower for a friend who had a little girl last week. She didn't find out what she was having beforehand. She has 3 older boys and totally assumed she would have another boy. I dug into my little girl clothes today to use some of them to decorate.

After pillaging all the other girls baby clothes I was still short a couple cute outfits and missing components of one that was key to my decor. And then I thought perhaps it was in Camille's clothes.

It has been a really long time since I have opened the cedar hope chest containing all the earthly things that were JUST Camille's. I found some cute things. I held her "Shrek" blanket that my friend Janie made for her. We called it that because it is purple and green fuzzy blocks on one side. It is soft and silky purple on the other with little flowers. Camille loved to snuggle down into that blanket when she went to bed.

I held it up to my face an inhaled it. So did Annie. She was there with me. I told her how much I missed her sister. She comforted me with love pats. I have come so far in healing but the wound can still be visited in freshness. This is especially true when I hear of someone I know losing a child. Like when Janie called me just about a year after Camille died to tell me she had just lost her newborn baby boy. Or last night when I heard my pediatrician's son had passed away. He was buried at the same cemetery as Camille today.

I remember being there. I am so glad I am not there anymore. I am so grateful that the Lord created paths of healing for us as we journey through mortality. Some healing comes in minutes or days. My eyes will take about 3 months. But the heart, well, it takes lots of love to heal, so says my wise little Annie.

Friday, June 22, 2012

New Eyes

My new eyes are doing well. Actually, the actual procedure has been the worst part of this so far. It was a bit "Star Trek" like to me having my eyes probed and prodded while I was awake. That was unsettling. My brother in law's calming voice helped. But it is still crazy seeing things things coming down to my eyeball straight on.

And now they are a little dry and sore but not too bad. I can see lots better than I could before without glasses. I am able to read what I am typing. But I cannot see as well as I could before with glasses. The words on the screen are a little fuzzy.

I have been sleeping lots and resting my eyes as much as possible. That seems to help. Plus I get to wear these awesome googles at night for the next two weeks. Note the sticker that one of the girls put on them to decorate me while I slept.

I think it is pretty amazing that we have the knowledge and technology to make our eyes work better. I mean the fact that I can see the words on this screen is pretty miraculous to me.

I am pleased that the pain level has been far less than I feared. I haven't had to use the pain eye drops since we left the surgery center. I guess this weekend is supposed to be hard when my eyes are healing up. Someone told me day 3 was their worst day. But day one has been manageable since my hubby stayed home to take care of being me for the day.

Now I guess I better head off to bed again. I don't think I have gotten this much sleep in 12 years. So nice to have doctors orders to sleep as much as possible to let your eyes heal. I bet there are a lot of moms out there who would want those kind of doctors orders!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Going Under the Knife ...errr .. Laser

Tomorrow I am having eye surgery. I have worn glasses since I was 14 and contacts for at least 20 years. The last 12 years I have been either pregnant or nursing or about to get pregnant. That made me not a good candidate for vision correction surgery. But that is not the case for me now. And since I have a brilliant and local brother in law who is a Ophthalmologist specializing in corneas, well I figured I the time is now.

I am a little anxious. I am not worried about my brother in law's abilities or having a bad outcome. My brother in law Aaron is one of the most detail oriented and precise people I know, not to mention just an all around great guy. But since I apparently have somewhat thin corneas, he is having me do PRK instead of Lasik. So the difference is that PRK has fewer complications since there is no cutting involved and it doesn't decrease your cornea depth but it is more painful and has a slower recovery.

That means I am going to be in "discomfort" (not entirely sure what that means) for the next week and then I will have better but not perfect vision for the next 3 months. He says I should be legal to drive without glasses but I will notice it isn't as good as it has been with glasses or contacts now.

So I took a couple photos of me with glasses for the record since today is the last day I will be wearing them ... at least until I need reading glasses.

 Someone is sneaking in on my photo. (no more glare in my eyes tomorrow!)
 And he gets me!

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

June 13

Today is June 13th. How did I come to know that? Did I look at my calendar? No. Have I been anticipating this day, watching the days pass knowing it was going to be Wednesday? No. I mean I knew we were getting to the middle of June. I knew the 13th would fall sometime this week. But I hadn't put it into my mind which day of the week it would fall on.

But this morning as soon as I woke up I just KNEW that today was June 13th and the 4 year anniversary mark of the worst day of my life. How? Dreams, or rather nightmares. Specifically the one I had just before waking of my baby girl, so tiny yet walking, escaping from me in a classroom as we prepared to go. Of someone allowing her to get out of the door. Of someone helping her step down the curb and into the school parking lot as I chased her as fast as I could screaming for someone to stop her. Of everyone looking at me and ignoring me as my baby girl walked faster than I could run away from me out of the parking lot and out of sight. Of me screaming all the while for SOMEONE to stop her and pick her up and save her. And of feeling so intensely mad and bewildered that not only did no one stop her but that so many people helped her along the way.

Then I woke up and knew, it must be June 13th. My subconscious knows even if I do not. And I am left with the imprint of that very vivid dream to go about this day. Were there unseen helpers aiding her escape that day? Did angels help her escape her high chair and across the hot cement and up the steps to the spa? More importantly, were angels there to help her and comfort her as she drowned?

No matter how healed I become and I do feel mostly healed, I will never like June 13th.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

And they're off...

Last night I took my parents to the airport. Today they are in London. Tonight they fly to Kenya. Next time I see them I will have moved past the diaper stage of motherhood. It is hard to imagine how the next two years will change our family and all the milestones my parents will miss in the lives of their grandchildren. But it is well worth the sacrifice.

I love my parents. I feel honored to have been raised by people who live what they teach. They have taught us all to be self sufficient and service oriented. It isn't always easy, but our lives are blessed through service and sacrifice.

My mom got a little teary as we hugged goodbye. "You'll be fine," I told her.

"I'm not worried about me," she replied.

A small chuckle escaped me. I reassured my mother that I would be fine. All of her kids would be. We are all married and have supportive spouses. We will be able to face the challenges that lie ahead.

People of Kenya ... take care of these two. They are pretty special.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Lesson - Power to Heal

The following is what I wrote out to give as my lesson today. I followed it fairly closely. I hope it will give you a good sense of what I was trying to convey. Words in italics were actions or things I asked the class to come up with.


Pass out Chocolate Cookies

Today I made each of you one of my favorite treats. They are double chocolate cookies. I love chocolate and it makes me happy. I go to it when I am stressed or feeling overwhelmed. Maybe that isn’t a great habit but sometimes a little chocolate makes the world seem a little more manageable. 

Still there are some days when I am so upset, or hurt, or down that I feel like there just isn’t enough chocolate in the world to make me better. Today I want to discuss the power by which we can become “better” when our spirits have been injured and we are hurting. I specifically want to focus on those “spiritual” injuries we receive through no fault of our own. So we are not talking about the spiritual injuries that result from our own sins.

These spiritual injuries are those that come as a consequence of living in the spiritual war zone of mortality. No one leaves this life without them. Everyone of us has her own “war story” with wounds or scars that have come to us without cause. I want you to think about YOUR story, and your wounds as we discuss today.

I understand that many of these wounds are intensely sensitive to you and incredibly private. Some you may not have shared with anyone at all. I don’t expect you to feel the need to share about these private wounds. I just know enough to know everyone has them, and if they don’t, they will get them.

Let’s put some examples up on the board here of things other people do that hurt us.

Here is my list: Death of a loved one, Sin of a loved one, abandonment, lies, mean or rude behavior, gossiping, false imprisonment, frivolous or malicious law suits, abuse in any form, crimes in which you were the victim, depression, mental illness, neglect, witnessing a crime, divorce, neglect ... the class came up with a few others I am forgetting.

Most of you know that I suffered the intensely painful spiritual injury of losing a child. I certainly have other injuries that are far less publically known. But because losing Camille was such a public injury I may refer to my experience with that one throughout this lesson to illustrate what I am talking about. But the principles we will discuss are equally applicable to all these different spiritual injuries we have named.

Losing Camille was not my first major spiritual injury but it certainly was my most life threatening. After her passing, I dove into a study of how to be healed of the spiritual wounds that seemed to be nearly killing me. I found answers through my own experience day by day and through scriptures I had found previously on the subject.

Recently I read a talk by Elder Bednar on the subject that added to and further defined my thoughts on the subject. His talk was entitled The Atonment and the Journey of Mortality. In it he talks about how the Atonement provides a cleansing power to make bad men or women good and an enabling and strengthening power to make good men and women better.  In the context of my narrow focus today of I’d like to think of his “better” as “more well or healed or whole” spiritually. As I have learned through scriptures we will examine combined with this talk by Elder Bednar, the enabling and strengthening power of the atonement can heal the pure in heart just as the cleansing power of the atonement can wipe away sin.  Together these two powers of the Atonement help us overcome Spiritual Death … after all we can do.

With the cleansing power of the Atonement we are taught Steps we can take to put us on the road to repentance so we can receive the power of the atonement. Through my study and experience, I have found that there are also steps we can take to receive the enabling and strengthening power of the Atonement. Today I’d love to share what I have learned.

Let’s look at a few scriptures: First in Jacob chapters 2 and 3. This is where the prophet Jacob is calling the Nephite men to repentance for not being faithful to their wives. He expresses how much he hates to have to even talk to them about this especially in the presence of their innocent wives and children. At the end of chapter 2 in the last verse he notes the broken hearts of the wives and how the sobbings of their hearts have ascended to God. He even says that many of their hearts DIED being pierced with deep wounds.

We certainly do not want that.

Then in the first two verses of Chapter 3 he speaks to those innocently injured by the sins of these men. Lets read it:

 1 But behold, I, Jacob, would speak unto you that are pure in heart. Look unto God with firmness of mind, and apray unto him with exceeding faith, and he will bconsole you in your cafflictions, and he will plead your cause, and send down djustice upon those who seek your destruction.
 2 O all ye that are pure in heart, lift up your heads and receive the pleasing word of God, and feast upon his alove; for ye may, if your bminds are cfirm, forever.

These verses have given me direction and things to ponder for years as I have studied this issue of healing a broken heart. What steps do you find in them?

1 – Be Pure in Heart
2 – Look to God with a firmness of mind
3- Pray in Faith
4 – Lift your head – trust and believe and have hope
4 - RECEIVE the pleasing word of God and FEAST on his LOVE
5 – Keep mind firm

The part of this that has been a subject of much study for me to better understand has been what it means to have a “firm mind.”

Other places in the scriptures we are told that the stripling warriors were of a firm mind. They followed a similar pattern as the one prescribed by Jacob to prevent their own “War Injuries.” In Alma 57: 26-27 we are told that in a great battle where many died, all of them survived. They were ALL injured but they all survived.

Their survival was a MIRACLE just as our spiritual survival despite our spiritual injuries is and will continue to be a miracle.  This miracle came because the strippling warriors:
1)   had exceeding faith – that is in our list of steps
2)   firm minds – also in our list of steps
3)   trusted god - this is why I expanded the lift your head section.

I believe they had guardian angels watching over and protecting and aiding them. And I believe we are privy to the same help if we follow the steps. In Moroni 7:30 we find that angels minister according to the Lord’s command to those of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness.

What do you think it means to have a “Firm Mind?”
Firm mind I have come to believe means unyielding to outside influences (satans whispers of doubt and self loathing and anger and jealousy and revenge.)

Elder Bednar highlighted some other scripture stories to illustrate the enabling or strengthening power of the Atonement. He talked about Nephi and his handling of the complex and hurtful family relationships he dealt with. When his brothers had tied him up he prayed for strength to burst the bands with which he was bound.

He did not pray to have his circumstances changed. Often our spiritual injuries come from circumstances that we either cannot or should not change. We can never change another person.

Elder Bednar suggests that he believes Nephi worked at those bands over time to loose them. It wasn’t easy but he did all he could to improve the situation. We similarly can follow the guidance of the Holy Ghost to do what we can to improve situations or relationships we are in that are hurtful. This is part of how we receive the word of god and the Love of the Savior.  This may be counseling or journal writing or doing service or temple worship.

We can often build a cocoon around ourselves even when we can’t escape the pain or the situation. After Camille died I did all I could to surround myself with love and gentleness. I couldn’t have the TV on and it was so hard to be around people who spoke unkindly to others.

A woman serving as a missionary in Croatia wrote to me and shared her experience of going through a difficult time. She wrote about building her cocoon through pouring herself into her calling and going to the temple two or three times a week. She was at a stage of life where she could do that and it helped her stay protected in that cocoon of the spirit as her spirit healed and dealt with the circumstances causing her injury.

Elder Bednar examines another thing we can do to stay pure in heart as found in the example of the people of Alma when they were in bondage to the Lamanites. They couldn’t change their circumstances but they changed themselves. In Mosiah 3:19 we are told

 For the anatural bman is an cenemy to God, and has been from the dfall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he eyields to the enticings of the Holy fSpirit, and gputteth off the hnatural man and becometh a isaint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a jchild, ksubmissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

In Mosiah 24:15 we see the result when as the people of Alma did this …

15 And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did astrengthen them that they could bear up their bburdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with cpatience to all the will of the Lord.

I found in my own experience that it was only when I did purify my heart and be meek and humble and submissive – that I could feel the love of the Lord for me and the feel the effects of the Atonement working to heal my heart.

One specific thing I prayed for a long time was that the healing power of the atonement would take effect in my soul. Please Lord, apply the healing power of the atonement to my heart and help make it whole again. I think that helped. Pray in faith with hope of healing and it can come. I am a witness of that. Pray for a change in your nature and it can come. His Atonement can make good men and women “better” even as it can make bad men good.

It was still a slow and long process. But the miracle of getting “better” and healing has come and continues to come.

ALMA 7:11-12 The Lord has suffered our pains, sicknesses and inFIRMities that HE could have mercy on us and know how to succor us according to our infirmities.

He can firm us up where we have been weak and bind up the broken heart. He can help us as we go forward to KEEP FIRM as we follow the plan and look to him.

Even after you have done these steps and feel you have gotten “better,” Satan will still be working to reinjure you. For me this comes at every anniversary or milestone Camille would have reached. But I have to redirect my mind and stay firm and RECEIVE.  Let go of the hurt. Do not hold on. Let go so you can RECEIVE - for ye may if your minds are firm.

I know God lives and that the Savior suffered so that he might aid us to do that which we cannot do alone – be cleansed from our sins AND be HEALED from our spiritual injuries. May we look with hope and firmness of mind to Him who is mighty to heal and receive the love and angelic help he is willing to send us. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Things to share

Summer is finally here and we are being as lazy as we can for the first few days. I will be scheming what we are going to do with our summer this year next week. I do need some structure to truly enjoy the summer, but for the next couple of days we are just taking a break. In the meantime, I have a few things I wanted to share.

My parents are leaving Monday for their mission in Kenya. They just returned from training for the mission in Utah and have just a couple days here before they fly out. So I have left the weekend pretty open so we can do whatever they have time to do with us. To learn more about what they will be doing in Kenya go HERE.

My girls have been reading some great books. Annie is working on A Wrinkle in Time and Lauren is nearly finished with one of the Magic Tree House books. I can't keep up with what Sabrina is currently reading. She got The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan the last day of school and was reading that last time I checked but she might have finished it by now. I mean it has been a day already.

I have been slowly working through a biography of Andrew Jackson. But that takes no kid interruptions to read properly. In the meantime I read THIS blog post that I felt was amazing. I have had a few friends who have struggled with same gender attraction. That post by Josh Weed and his wife Lolly really gave me a fresh perspective and a more positive view of the challenges one faces and the sacrifices one must choose between when they are attracted to members of the same sex. It is a long post but it is well worth the read.

One other thing I wanted to share was the new "game" Noble and I have been playing. Potty training is one of my least favorite things. Nevertheless it must be done. Noble has been working on it for about 2 months and is doing really well. It actually has been easier with him than it has been with any of my other kids (probably because he is older than the girls were.)

But I have found a new "game" that he likes to play to encourage him to push and try to go #2 even when he doesn't feel the immediate need. It has worked so very well and we have had great success with getting him to push and get it all out once or occasionally twice a day.

Here is the "game." I sit him on the toilet. Sometimes he is mad at having to be there. I get my phone and take a photo of his face only. He loves it. Then I ask him to push and I take a photo of his face for every toot or poop he gets out. Then I immediately let him see the photo. He loves making funny faces and seeing them on the phone. I love not having to change poopy diapers. If you are in the potty training phase it may be worth a try. :O)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Lesson Preparation

In my most recent job at church I get to teach only once a quarter. Since I like teaching this was a sad change from my teaching once a month gig. But the bright side is that I get to pick my own topic for my lesson. I love that aspect because it allows me to think deeply about what topic will most benefit the women I teach and I can bring some of the passion I am feeling about the topic I choose to the lesson. 

Sometimes picking your own topic can be hard because really there are SO many wonderful and important aspects of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that we could address. And sometimes the most vital and central aspects, which all revolve around Jesus Christ and his life and mission in the greater plan, seem too big a topic to cover in just one lesson.

But as I have been preparing for my turn to teach this Sunday, the topic has come readily. And I have found great joy in the growth of knowledge, understanding, and peace that I have felt from preparing and studying for this lesson. I am excited to share what I have learned and hope to plan an effective way to properly deliver it. 

In my view, the topic I have choose is important for everyone and critical to most people. I am sad that we only have about 20 women in the class I will be teaching. I feel like so many more would or could benefit from a better understanding and study of this topic. So while I don't normally "write out" any of my lessons, I think for this I may make an exception. 

I am going to write down what I plan to teach and post it here on the blog. It will not be exactly what goes down in my lesson because obviously I will be involving the class in my lesson and I can't predict what comments will be shared or where they will ultimately take the lesson. That is the reason I don't "write out" my lessons. I like to be free to follow where the Spirit guides during the lesson without the pressure to "get through" all that I had prepared.

But I am going to write up what I have learned and put it in the basic structure of what my lesson should look like. I would love for anyone on here who would like to join me in this "virtual class" to join me by doing a little reading to prepare. If you do the reading and have some thoughts to share I would LOVE to hear them before Sunday in case I want to incorporate them into my lesson. Depending on my time, I will either post the lesson here just before or just after I give it on Sunday. 

So ... here is the topic: Tapping into the Healing and Enabling Power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We all know that Jesus died to Atone for our sins and that through Him our sins can be washed away. That is not what I am looking at in this lesson. In this lesson I want to examine how the power of the Atonement can reach to soothe or heal the spiritual injuries we suffer through no sin or fault of our own. 

I feel like everyone has these. The injuries loosing Camille inflicted on my spirit (my mind and heart) were very public in that everyone knew what happened to me. I got the added benefit of public support and love to aid me as my spirit healed. But so many people suffer in private and silence from equally devastating spiritual injuries. 

This is a lesson about finding Hope to deal with those injuries (many of which are recurring and cannot be changed.) It is about learning How to tap into the power of the Atonement to help you do that which you cannot do alone. And it is about developing a "Firm Mind" so that you can choose the better path when life or circumstances make it seem like there are no choices.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on these topics especially especially after you read THIS AMAZING talk and the following scripture found in the Book of Mormon in Jacob Chapter 3. This is in a sermon by the prophet Jacob after he has called the men to repentance for not being faithful to their wives. He then says this to the innocently spiritually injured wives:

 But behold, I, Jacob, would speak unto you that are pure in heart. Look unto God with firmness of mind, and apray unto him with exceeding faith, and he will bconsole you in your cafflictions, and he will plead your cause, and send down djustice upon those who seek your destruction.
 O all ye that are pure in heart, lift up your heads and receive the pleasing word of God, and feast upon his alove; for ye may, if your bminds are cfirm, forever.
Keep that scripture in mind as you read the talk I linked to above by former BYU

Idaho president and current apostle David Bednar. I'd love to hear your insights!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A Noble Weekend

We just returned home from a quick trip to Southern California for the funeral of Jon's uncle, Noble Waite. It was strange for me running around chasing after MY Noble and calling after him by name over and over through the afternoon while attending the funeral of a man who bore his same name.

I was glad my little Noble was only 3 and in a nursery with babysitters during the service as we heard all about all the various things the elder Noble blew up, burned down, shot or beat up. Some of his antics would have been rich fodder for the imaginations of a young man. Noble was a great man with a wonderful sense of humor, a legacy of service to his country, community, and church, and a powerful testimony of the gospel for Jesus Christ. I enjoyed his funeral and the Spirit that was present during it.

I also got some much needed So Cal Harris time as a bonus. We stayed with my brother Darren and got to enjoy "the greatest house in the world!" At least that is what Noble told me at 4 am on Saturday after I had been laying with him for an hour trying to get him to go back to sleep. He was SO excited to be staying at Uncle Darren's house. He was mad to have to come home to our house.

It was a rejuvenating trip for me. I had a great time going to dinner Friday night with both my brothers and my sister in law Elizabeth and Jonathan. Early the next morning Elizabeth and I hiked in the hills behind their houses. My bootie is feeling it today. It was a good hike and great company.

Overall the kids got to play and the adults got to chat. A good weekend by all accounts. There was a house for lease next door to Darren. Every time we drove up I wanted to just  take that sign down and say, "hello, we are moving in here!" I miss somethings about living down in So Cal so badly. Topping that list is the family we have there. Weather is pretty high up there too.

Then today on our drive home I was thankful not to be going the other direction. Traffic leaving So Cal on friday and going back to So Cal on Sunday is brutal. Traffic in general is one thing I don't miss about living in So Cal.

Thank you to my So Cal family for putting us up for the weekend and for putting up with us. :) We are kind of a herd these days. I appreciate you more than you can know.